The European Space Agency said the crash avoidance maneuver took place ½ an orbit before the potential collisions.
The ESA says that after the avoidance maneuver was completed, the Aeolus satellite was able to make contact as usual and transmit science data.
"ESA have been pretty frustrated with SpaceX so far".
In an emailed statement, a SpaceX spokesperson said it missed an update from the US Air Force showing an increase in the probability that the two satellites could collide to greater than 1 in 10,000, which is the industry threshold at which evasive maneuvers are recommended.
In a series of tweets, the agency explained that it had calculated that its Aeolus satellite was at risk of colliding with SpaceX's Starlink satellite constellation, and chose to implement an emergency maneuver to avoid an accident.
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Groups like the ESA perform many redirection maneuvers each year, but for the space agency to have to avoid a fully functional satellite (as opposed to a derelict spacecraft or random debris) is incredibly rare.
"SpaceX sent a short email to ESA saying they would not move their satellite", he tweeted. It warned the problem could get worse as satellite constellations including Starlink and others grow to thousands of satellites. "However, had the Starlink operator seen the correspondence, we would have coordinated with ESA to determine best approach with their continuing with their maneuver or our performing a maneuver".
Aeolus itself was launched on 22 August 2018, and is created to acquire profiles of the Earth's winds, handy for understanding the dynamics of weather and improving forecasting. Eventually, the constellation of satellites will be comprised of nearly 12,000 units.
ESA added that it's working to automate the process of collision avoidance using artificial intelligence. For now though, the engineers there perform the adjustments manually.
The European Space Agency said it was the first time the satellite had to be moved to prevent a collision with a cluster of satellites.